31 tonnes of plastic was collected. | Archives

Environment minister Miquel Mir stated on Thursday that the coastal cleaning service in the Balearics had, by Tuesday this week, collected 64.1 tonnes of waste this year. Almost half of this, 31 tonnes, was plastic. He went on to explain that since 2004, which is when the service started, 2,237 tonnes of waste have been collected. Just over 30% of this - 703 tonnes - has been plastic.

The coastal cleaning service now has thirty boats. It is operated by the government's Abaqua agency and is, as Mir pointed out, the only service of its type in the Mediterranean. Efforts made in the Balearics, he stressed, "are insufficient to guarantee the conservation of the sea". Winning the fight against plastic, he added, is vital not just to conserve the sea, "but the entire planet".

The minister said that the Spanish government and the European Union must have greater involvement in tackling the problem of plastic. He observed that, of European countries, Spain is responsible for the second largest amount of plastic in the Mediterranean. "No one can hide from their responsibility in a situation this serious."

Mir stressed that the Balearics are in the vanguard in terms of legislating, but criticised the fact that regional legislation has been challenged by the Spanish government.